Bentley tour: Vintage cars invite stares and smiles

2012-10-06 00:00

VINTAGE Bentley drivers turned heads yesterday as they drove from Granny Mouse Country House to their next destination as part of the Seventh International Vintage Bentley Tour South Africa.

Pedestrians and other motorists were fascinated by the elegant old cars and couldn’t help but stare, smile and wave.

The tour began at the end of last month. There are 32 vintage Bentleys in this tour from all over the world, most of them from the 1920s, and two from the early 1930s.

They are shipped to each country.

The participants belong to the Bentley Drivers Club and come from countries including Switzerland, the U.S., and South Africa, although the majority are from the United Kingdom.

Although their backgrounds and cultures differ, they all have one thing in common — a love for vintage cars.

“Travelling is fun, you get to meet new people,” said Bridget Patridge, who comes from England.

Patridge and her husband Roy drive around in their 1924 three-litre Speed Model Bentley.

“This car has an interesting story,” Patridge said. It was bought from a scrap yard and took about 50 years to rebuild.

It still has most of its original parts.

The couple, who have been married for over 40 years, have been members of the Bentley Drivers Club since the mid 60s.

This is not their first trip to South Africa. They first came here in 2007.

Another member of the club, Tim Forbes, couldn’t stop talking about his “gorgeous” 1929 4,5-litre Le Mans replica.

“Look at how beautiful she is! She moves like a rocket,” said an excited Forbes, who is from Wiltshire, England.

The car’s engine has been rebuilt twice, first in 1947 and again in 1967, and it has had more than eight owners.

The tour has been all over most of Europe and the next stop is New Zealand.

Juergen Lenz, from Switzerland, was more than happy to tell Weekend Witness all about his 1928 six-cylinder 6,5-litre Tourer. The car was first registered on November 16, 1928, and according to Lenz, its engine has been rebuilt twice.

He purchased the car in 2007 and has been around Europe, Australia and other places.

“I have enjoyed every minute of being a part of the club,” said Lenz, who has been a member for about eight years.

These cars are a collector’s dream and they don’t come cheap.

The most expensive cars in the group range between R10 to R15 million, and the least expensive one cost about R2,5 million, according to Dave Alexander, one of the tour organisers.

• Siyathemba.Ben@media24.com

Photo: Ian Carbutt

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